It's time to rethink your messaging

You are not your job.

It’s astounding that we have to remind ourselves of that simple fact.

We do take vacations from time to time—although not as frequently as we might. According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans used an average of 17.4 days of paid time off in 2018, up slightly from 17.2 days in 2017.

Many U.S. workers need to earn vacation time, and even then, they don’t use all of their eligible time up. Some of them feel as if they need to prove themselves and that if they take time off, they might be replaced. In a country where healthcare is tied to employment status, that is a valid concern.

But other countries require their citizens to take time off of work.

Which is why we end up seeing memes like this one:

But when we actually do take the time to be out of the office, we see the autoresponders with the typical, boring Out of Office (OOO) messages.

Why not kick things up a notch and put a little more thought into your OOO message? I once had a colleague who composed comedy award-winning missives that enticed people to email him specifically because they knew he was away.

So the next time you head out, try out something like this:

Hi, I'm Troy McClure! You might remember me from such Out of Office messages as Going to the Doctor’s Appointment that Definitely Isn’t a Job Interview and Calling All Quakers.

I’m here today to talk to you about one of your coworkers, Jim Worker. Jim has decided that a week in the sun with his feet in the sand is preferable to churning out PDS reports drinking sub-par coffee, and that requests should be forwarded to

(Enter Billy, doe-eyed eight year-old)

Billy: Mr. McClure, why did Mr. Worker leave us?

(Troy ruffles Billy’s hair)

Troy: The answer is simple, Billy. Daiquiris. And margaritas. Sweet, frozen alcoholic drinks. He’d sip frozen turpentine if he was at the beach and they served it to him with one of those little umbrellas in it.

Billy: But why would he do that?

Troy: Because he’s a monster, Billy. A work-hating, fun-loving monster. And we’ll be better off without him.

Billy: I’ll say! Thanks, Mr. McClure!

Troy: So there you have it, folks. Your co-worker is gone for a week and there’s nothing you can do about it.

That’s all for now. Watch for me in the upcoming Out of Office message It’s Not a Hangover, It’s Food Poisoning—I Swear. And enjoy casual Friday.


Thanks, and I’ll see you on the internet.